How Mobile Technology is Freeing Employees and Supporting New Ways of Working
The explosion of smartphones and tablets has created a new way of living and working, especially for the 70 percent of workers, known as untethered workers, who don’t sit behind a desk every day. Companies are embracing the mobile shift and have begun to move their IT applications onto mobile platforms for workers who are not desk based.
Three driving forces have been speeding this transition to a mobile work style:
- Untethered employees: Mobile devices have unleashed productivity and collaboration in the workforce for the 70 percent of U.S. employees who don’t sit behind a desk every day. These untethered workers — maintenance workers, tradespeople, doctors, anyone who isn’t tied to a desk to complete their responsibilities — could benefit from using smartphones and tablets for instantaneous information.
- Access to enterprise technology: Most people’s smart devices are more up to date than the technology used at work. Why not take advantage of this familiarity by allowing them to use a work device that’s as efficient as their personal device?
- Digital natives: Millennials have a different mind-set when it comes to digital. Doing something on a mobile device at work isn't a digital experience. That’s just called Tuesday. They come into the workforce with an expectation that their tools and resources will support their digital needs.
Verizon, for example, understands that giving employees better technology allows them to serve customers better. Associates use tablets preloaded with an app detailing product information for every offer. The user interface is clear enough that shoppers can be shown the plans directly on screen, leading to further discovery and conversations with associates. Employees equipped with this technology logged 30 percent more contact time with customers.
Leaders wondering how to accelerate their organization’s shift to 100 percent mobile for untethered workers should consider three things:
- Put mobile first. If you were building a company from scratch today, and not all of your workers sit behind desks, you probably wouldn’t start with a desktop computer, right?
- Pick a platform. Part of an effective road map is adopting a standard platform for the enterprise. It’s essential to develop criteria based upon how the business will operate from the future and select accordingly based on this vision.
- Pick a partner. The right vision and technology won’t help you if you can’t execute. Choosing an experienced infrastructure partner can help you to deploy solutions for your untethered workers.
In the future, untethered employees will no longer be forced to rely on a remote computer to do their work. Instead, everything they need will be available via a mobile device. These simple organizational strategies lead to customized plans rather than reactive solutions. Leaders who choose to embrace this new way of working will reap dividends with employees and customers.
Mike Brinker is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and global leader for Deloitte Digital. In his 23 years at Deloitte, he has delivered solutions to clients in a variety of industries and applications, which has given him a balanced perspective across the complex technology landscape. He has served dozens of clients in the retail, hospitality, technology, media, and financial services sectors. While with Deloitte, he also led a full-service digital agency, an eCommerce practice, an international technology practice, and has overseen several major acquisitions. For more about the untethered workforce, visit Deloitte's research on the future of work.